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Daniel Battsek to Head Miramax Films

Daniel Battsek, a veteran film exec in the Buena Vista International Organization, has been named president, Miramax Films, reporting directly to Dick Cook, chairman The Walt Disney Studios. Battsek, has been serving as evp/md of distribution and production for BVI UK.

Battsek will focus on building a new executive team and a new slate of Miramax films. He will work with Bob and Harvey Weinstein who will remain co-chairmen of Miramax on a non-exclusive basis through Sept. 30, 2005. The Weinsteins will focus on completing projects currently in production and will oversee the marketing and distribution of Miramax and Dimension films scheduled for release. Battsek will take over all operations for Miramax Films on October 1, which include creative, acquisitions, production, distribution, as well as marketing and publicity.

Daniel is a remarkable leader as proven by his dynamic and award-winning executive team, Cook said. Their unprecedented success throughout the U.K. can be attributed to Daniels savvy business sense, combined with his inspired enthusiasm, team spirit and great taste in material. His long rich history with The Walt Disney Studios, where he has been involved in distribution, marketing, acquisition and production, gives him a keen understanding of our goals as we further build upon the prestigious heritage of the Miramax name.

Commenting on his new position, Battsek stated, I am very much looking forward to the creative challenges this new role will bring, and am extremely gratified by the confidence Dick and others at the Studio, particularly Mark Zoradi, BVI president, have in me to give me this amazing opportunity. I have enormous respect for everything that Miramax stands for and I hope my life-long passion for the film business will be a great asset to this prestigious label.

Battsek will relocate from the U.K. to New York City where the Miramax headquarters will continue to operate independently.

Projects already in the pipeline are KINKY BOOTS from director Julian Jarrold, GONE BABY GONE helmed by first time director Ben Affleck, LUCKY 13 directed by Scott Marshall and HOAX starring Richard Gere, to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Battsek will also collaborate with The Weinstein Co. on such co-productions as BREAKING AND ENTERING, DERAILED, MATADOR and MRS. HENDERSON.

BVI UK has experienced more than a decade of exceptional results under Battseks watch. In 2003 the company topped the Distributor Market Share chart for the first time in its history. In addition to his responsibilities relating to BVI, he has also built the UK Comedy Label into one of the leading British Production companies.

Battsek has built strong working relationships with such high profile British filmmakers such as Stephen Frears, Nigel Cole, John Madden, Christopher Nolan, Anthony Minghella, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as many influential filmmakers in the international film community.

In 1991, Battsek was asked to start up a U.K. company as part of the world-wide distribution network for BVI. Battsek was quickly promoted to vp/md where he handled all aspects of theatrical film distribution in the U.K. He built a strong team of key executives in finance, sales, marketing, technical and publicity. He was later promoted to vp/md and European acquisitions director of BVI (U.K.) Ltd.

In 1998, he was promoted to svp, BVI (U.K.) Ltd. where he oversaw approximately 35 films per year from the Disney, Touchstone and Miramax labels. Battsek began acquiring and developing British film projects for worldwide distribution. He created the BVI UK Comedy Label which produced four films HIGH HEELS AND LOW LIFES, HOPE SPRINGS, CALENDAR GIRLS, which went on to gross over $95 million worldwide, and the upcoming release, KINKY BOOTS.

Prior to Disney, Battsek was md of Palace Pictures where he was involved in all aspects of marketing, distribution and acquisitions in the U.K. and Ireland. Between 1985 and 1991 the company was successful with a wide variety of product, including such films as MONA LISA, CINEMA PARADISO, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and THE CRYING GAME.

Battsek began his industry career at The Hoyts Film Corp. in Sydney, Australia, where he quickly rose through the ranks to gm in Victoria State overseeing distribution.